Panorama of Machine Co. Aisle (1904)    1 Stars


There’s something strangely compelling about this film. It’s the simplest of ideas – a camera is fixed to an overhead crane in the Westinghouse factory and captures the activity within the factory as it glides slowly along its central aisle. It’s an early tracking shot that, in many ways prophesies more famous shots, and the hive of activity means there is always something to capture your attention. The sprawl of industrial manufacturing makes Panorama of Machine Co. Aisle reminiscent of Lang’s Metropolis at times, and although it’s silent you can almost hear the crash of machinery echoing around the huge factory. I wonder whether German cameraman G. W. Bitzer was actually up there on the crane? Cameras were manually cranked back then, so I guess he was…

(Reviewed 17th July 2009)